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How do Vikings Fans Feel about Kirk Cousins, Mike Zimmer and the State of the Team?

Posted on January 16, 2020 by Zone Coverage

A recent poll conducted by Zone Coverage shows that Minnesota Vikings fans are pretty confident in Mike Zimmer, their team’s head coach. They still, however, need to be convinced about quarterback Kirk Cousins.

At the halfway point of Cousins’ lucrative three-year contract, Zone Coverage polled 150 random Vikings fans to get their take on the highly-paid quarterback, the defensive-minded head coach and the team’s general manager Rick Spielman.

Cousins signed a three-year, $84 million guaranteed contract in 2018 which was supposed to propel the Vikings to a Super Bowl. But in his first season they didn’t make huge leaps. The former Washington quarterback came up short in big games, as the Minnesota Vikings finished the year 8-7-1 to keep them out of the playoffs. 

Even after a fast start to the 2019 season where Cousins looked comfortable in Minnesota’s new offensive system, only 42 percent of fans believed his contract was justified, according to the poll. 

At the time of the signing in 2018, Cousins’ 100 percent guaranteed contract contained the largest annual average salary in football at $28 million per year. He’s since been passed by six other quarterbacks.

But with that groundbreaking salary, Cousins has been forced to deal with more criticism.

“You guys can be as hard on me as you want,” Cousins told reporters in mid-November. “I’m living a dream. I’m well-compensated, and I’ve got to take the good with the bad, right? I’ve got a lot of good with my job, and if that means pressure and there’s weight and there’s expectations that sometimes are unfair, that comes with the territory.”

According to the poll, 83 percent of fans would prefer the Vikings draft a quarterback in the 2020 draft, whereas only 47 percent believe the Vikings should sign Cousins to a contract extension. 

Still, 84 percent are confident Cousins will play out his contract and at least complete the 2020 season. 

Of course, any poll is just a snapshot in time. The football season is short, and opinions can change by the week. Cousins’ wins in Week 10 and Week 11 – on the road at Dallas and at home in a big comeback versus Denver – may be reshaping public opinion.

Vikings fans have long been fond of Zimmer, now in his sixth year as head coach. The 63-year-old coach has led the Vikings to two NFC North titles in his previous five years. Per the poll, 74 percent of fans are satisfied with the job Zimmer is doing, while only 42 percent believe he is more accountable for the team’s shortcomings than Spielman.

Furthermore, 78 percent of fans believe Zimmer can lead the Vikings to a Super Bowl, and 80 percent say they’d prefer three more years with Zimmer than three more years with Cousins. Only 45 percent said they’d prefer an offensive-minded head coach in place of Zimmer.

In his first 91 games as Vikings coach, Zimmer’s .610 winning percentage is the same as Dennis Green’s and just behind legendary coach Bud Grant’s (.621).

“I’m going into the season,” Zimmer told ESPN over the summer, “thinking that good things are going to happen … and they’re going to want me here for a long time.”

Since arriving in Minnesota, Zimmer has been tied to Spielman, who has received credit for helping draft a number of defensive stars and late-round steals but has struggled to build out a consistent offense through the draft and free agency. Diggs was selected in the fifth-round and Adam Thielen in undrafted free agency are two of his greatest achievements, but the Vikings’ constant reshaping of the offensive line has led to myriad offensive issues.

According to the poll, an indecisive 51 percent of fans believe Spielman has done enough to build a championship team, while 56 percent of fans believe he or Zimmer should be fired by ownership because the Vikings failed to make the playoffs in 2019 for the second consecutive year.

During the Week 12 bye, the Vikings sat in the final NFC playoff position with an 8-3 record, and Spielman addressed the state of the team.

“I think we haven’t played our best football yet,” Spielman said. “I think we’re still evolving as a football team.”

While the goal, of course, was to win the Super Bowl, fans are realistic about the competitiveness of the NFL landscape. When asked if the 2019 season could be deemed a success even though the Vikings won only one playoff game and failed to make it to the Super Bowl, 63 percent said yes. 

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